Ok, here goes!

I’m an old guy with limited computer skills but lots of music that I like listening to on my home stereo system. This is what I would like to do:

I love my iPad Air 3. It’s all I got computer wise and over 300 hard earned purchased CDs. I want to listen to all this music via my iPad. Touch something on the screen and it plays the music I have OFFLINE.

I know I will need a computer/laptop, an external dvd player, and an external storage device. Everything else I read that I might need is quite confusing to me. Don’t use iTunes, need this storage device, use this player, and onwards.

TMI for me! I don’t want to stream. Just listen to what I have. Willing to pick up a apple laptop to hopefully make all this easier.

Simple solutions would be best for me. Any suggestions for us newbies? Thanks a bunch!

1 Answer 1


What you really need is iTunes [or the newer Apple Music, but that won't actually help… read on…].
The reason you need iTunes is that's the only way to get the music onto the iPad. The iPad can't play the actual CDs, of course.

So, you want an old Mac (or a PC, but hey, we're all Mac fans here ;) one with a CD/DVD drive. This is going to be maybe 10 years old or so (& therefore cheap;). Modern ones don't have optical drives any more, though you can get external ones… maybe too much faff if all you want is a machine to enable your transfers.

Older Macs still use iTunes [that's why you don't need to care about Apple Music which replaced iTunes]

Once you run iTunes, you can feed it CDs one at a time & bring them all into iTunes.
Your Mac will need to be able to see an internet connection whilst it's doing this, to get the album & track titles & the artwork. [These are not on the CD at all, it uses some smart recognition software to 'guess' what the album is.] You can then sync these to your iPad & carry your entire CD collection wherever you go.

I found a pictorial guide to the actual process - they used a PC but the method is the same - https://www.copytrans.net/support/how-to-import-cd-tracks-to-itunes/

As a bonus - the Mac will also now contain all your CDs, giving you two means of playback.

Note: This is all a bit complex to run the entire procedure in a few paragraphs. If you need further detail as you work through it, it may well be worth asking additional, more focussed questions.

  • Thx for the quick reply. Willing to get a new apple laptop if in the end I only mostly use my iPad to access all my tunes. Do I need a NAS? Or an additional external storage device? Over 300 cds not going to fit on a new air laptop? Everyone seems to hate Apple Music, what alternative easy software can I get? Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 23:29
  • 1
    @raykazlauskas If you use the default 128kbps Apple AAC encoding, that's about 1 MB / minute. 300 CDs * 70 minutes * 1 MB / min ≈ 21 GB. So that can definitely fit. Even if you use the fancy 256 kbps AAC encoding, it'll still fit. Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 4:35
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    The 'advantages', in this case of a older Mac is a) the built-in DVD drive & b) only iTunes, no Apple Music [you're offered a subscription but you can ignore it & just use it like it always was.] iTunes was what drove Apple's success in the 2000's, a billion iPods freed the world of cassette Walkmans & portable CD players. All your music collection in one tiny box. Your iPad can just be a bigger version of this box. A Macbook Pro 13" 2012 was the last to have the optical drive; running Mojave it would be technically out of date, but not too old to use. I've seen them on eBay at £120.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 7:19
  • Thx for everyone’s support. I’m iffy on old tech so I’ll probably get a new Mac air, a fat ssd, and an external burner. Besides iTunes, what 3rd party non streaming music player should I get? Thank again. Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 17:59
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    I'd go with 'old tech'. You want this for one task, then you're done with it. iTunes [now called Music] is already on the iPad waiting to go, once you sync your ripped CDs to it. A 2012 Mac with Mojave is not from pre-history, it's still a perfectly usable structure for a year or three - more if you're not interested in the 'new shiny' every year. It's a no-brainer [& cheap], really. I've set up my octogenarian parents with this type of setup & they're happy as Larry. [certainly compared to 15 years of prior bi-weekly remote accessing the bl@@dy PC they used to use ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 18:15

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